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Undermining Health: The Global Crisis of Counterfeit Drugs

The global menace of counterfeit drugs and the illicit medication market pose a dire threat to public health and safety, with profound consequences. An estimated 10%–30% of medicines in developing countries are counterfeit, affecting industrialized nations with a lesser but still significant 1% rate​​. The counterfeit drug market, valued at an astonishing $200 billion annually, fuels a shadow economy that thrives at the expense of the vulnerable​​. The majority of these fake drugs, predominantly manufactured in India and China, penetrate markets via $75 billion worth of internet sales​​ (HRF). Counterfeit medications range from lifestyle to lifesaving drugs, leading to adverse health outcomes, treatment failures, development of drug resistance, and a decline in confidence in health systems (BMJ)​​. This illicit trade not only results in excess morbidity and mortality but also undermines the global healthcare infrastructure, demanding urgent and coordinated international response to mitigate its impacts effectively.